Could DRM kill off Blue-ray?
At a cocktails and giggles get-together last night, I found myself chatting to a representative from Memorex, who was talking about the new competing high-def disc formats, Blu-ray and HD DVD.
For those that don’t know, although Memorex mainly produces media such as tapes and disks, it also make HDDs and, more importantly in light of the Blu-ray vs HD DVD battle, optical drives as well.
So I asked him the question everyone has been pondering - which is it going to be, Blu-ray or HD DVD? Also, are we going to have one standard or is there room in the market for two - and which will be the better one in the end? The answers were pretty much as we expected but with one little twist.
Blu-ray, he reckoned, could be the one to lose out and go the way of Betamax video cassettes purely because of Sony’s digital rights management (DRM) policy. Our friend at Memorex felt sure that Sony is walking a dangerous line - shoving DRM down the consumers throat. Even the less technical consumer is starting to show concern over DRM. Despite Blu-ray easily beating HD DVD in storage capacity and have better support from the movie studio, Sony’s DRM could kill the standard off.
According to our Memorex friend, Sony’s recent embarrassment over the root-kit security vunerability forced on PC users has brought DRM right up into the public eye - and it's something that consumers appear reluctant to accept. Ultimately, as with VHS and Betamax, the battle will come down to marketing and that's something that Sony will have to get spot on for people to accept DRM, especially after the root-kit debacle.